Did I Say That? California dreaming

—Doug Smith
—Doug Smith

The same day my daughter flew in from Los Angeles I read that a movement was brewing in California to secede from the United States and become a separate nation, whose exports would largely consist of wine, marijuana, surfboards and TV sitcoms.

I knew I’d hear a long homily about California independence, not to mention California dreaming, Donald Trump, global warming, Arnold Schwarzenegger, border wars, and other things I have no desire to discuss because, quite simply, I’m tired of listening to people argue about politics … regardless of their party affiliation.

This secession talk has been going on awhile, but it gained momentum after Trump was elected because in California, Hillary received 7,362,490 votes to Trump’s 3,916,209, which probably means she’s a shoo-in to be President or Prime Minister of the soon-to-be-created nation — unless Sean Penn or George Clooney decide to primary.

According to a Reuters survey, one in three residents supports the initiative, dubbed as “Calexit,” and a group called “Yes California Independence Campaign” is advancing a ballot proposal, seeking a referendum in 2019.

The campaign’s website says, “In our view, the United States of America represents so many things that conflict with Californian values, and our continued statehood means California will continue subsidizing the other states to our own detriment and to the detriment of our children.” Or as the Los Angeles Times put it: Californians are “culturally different” from the rest of America, which is one thing we all can agree on.

Of course, the people who should be most concerned are the Democrats in the other 49 states because without California, the country no longer has a viable two-party system.

Half our family wants to move to California, along with the cast of Saturday Night Live, and the other half wants to move to a cave somewhere in the Appalachians. There’s also a contingent that wants to move to Las Vegas, where they can spend their Social Security checks pursuing earthly pleasures.

Unfortunately, if California left the United States, we’d have to import our entertainment and per the new administration, there would be a high surtax, which means the average working class American wouldn’t be able to afford TV shows like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead and would have to resort to high-minded fare on BBC and the newly created PPBS — the Privatized Public Broadcasting Service.

On the other hand, there are benefits. A friend of mine who has a vineyard in Litchfield sees brighter days ahead because we’ll be forced to drink wine from France or Connecticut, and the increase in tax revenue will help the governor solve the state’s budget crisis.

There are also inconveniences. We’ll need passports to visit Hollywood and Disneyland or to drive up the coast to San Francisco, birthplace of the hippie movement, which is as significant to our history as Bunker Hill. Equally troubling, the Beach Boys and the Little Old Lady from Pasadena won’t be Americans anymore.

For years, I flew back and forth to Los Angeles and quickly realized California is another dimension of sight and mind. At business meetings, we Easterners wore fitted suits, button-down collars and red silk ties and looked as starched as the Trump Cabinet, while people on the other side of the table were dressed like bawdy wine tasters carousing through Napa Valley. Every meeting had the potential to become a Larry David sitcom.

On an equally unimportant topic, I’ve never liked palm trees, even when I lived in Florida. My daughter gets angry when I say that, but to my thinking, they serve no useful purpose and look like gigantic weeds sprouting up along the sidewalks. Plus, the mountains outside of Los Angeles aren’t like the mountains we’re accustomed to. They’re more like heaps of dirt.

Back in the 1960s, many of my friends and family members moved to Southern California to start a new and improved life. They were convinced they found a better way because they didn’t have to shovel snow.

They’re always urging me to visit them and try to entice me by saying we’ll sip wine, watch women in bikinis rollerblade along the boardwalk and listen for rumbling along the San Andreas fault. Ahhh, the good life. Who can pass that up?

Needless to say, I’ve given this situation serious consideration and believe there’s a better way than secession. In the Trump tradition of building walls, California can construct a wall along the state border (and another one around Hollywood) to keep out the rest of America … especially Republicans. Instead of your passport, you’d just have to show your voter registration to visit Yosemite or Rodeo Drive.


Contact Joe Pisani at joefpisani@yahoo.com.